Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Molting: It ain't for sissies

Here's a surprise fact about chicken keeping: when chickens get old enough (let's say...two), one day you look at them and they do not look so good. They seem disheveled. "I hope that chicken is okay," you say to yourself. And then a couple days later they look like this:
Auggh!! And this isn't even the worst of it. A few days after this picture was taken, this hen was down to a number of feathers that was extremely close to zero. (let's say...two)

At that point, the chicken looks horrible. Just...horrible. I don't know why she hangs on to those last two feathers, either. They don't keep her warm, they don't help her fly, and they certainly don't do much for her dignity. But they're all she has. Maybe I do understand--she's all cold and cranky and naked, and she looks ridiculous, and she just wants those two feathers. Okay.

Eventually things get better. Here is that hen now, a few weeks later. Her new feathers are small but shiny and they cover her naked skin.
"Phewf, glad that's over!" We all are.

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